Farming & Fisheries

Cairns: Our fishing needs basic infrastructure

February 29th, 2024 2:20 PM

By Southern Star Team

Social Democrat party leader Cairns said the decision to close her office was taken after a security review.

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A LACK of basic infrastructre in West Cork is curtailing the local fishing industry, Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns said.

Deputy Cairns was speaking at a Dail questions and answer session with Minister Charlie McConalogue on Sustainable Fisheries Sector and Coastal Communities.

‘An issue that really impacts fishers in West Cork is the lack of basic infrastructure at small piers and harbours. The current requirements around foreshore licenses mean that communities are forced to go through a massively expensive and lengthy process even for minor works,’

Deputy Cairns said. ‘I appealed to the Minister to review the licensing arrangements, and to examine moving the requirement for foreshore licenses out to 100m from the shoreline. This would protect our coastlines while also allowing necessary works to take place.

‘I also raised the issue of the unfair distribution of fishing quotas by the Minister. Government policy is skewed wildly in favour of a small number of large boats and big players.

‘The clearest example is the mackerel quota, where more than 2,000 small boats receive 2% of the quota while fewer than 100 large boats get 98%. In order for inshore fishers to retain a livelihood, the Minister needs to redistribute the quotas fairly.’

Meanwhile Independent Ireland leader Michael Collins urged the Minister to veto any EU to grant Iceland access to our fishing waters. He said reports of a deal, promising Irish fishermen an additional 15 million tonnes of blue whiting quota would come at a steep cost of allowing Icelandic crews to fish in our waters.

‘This is akin to offering a child a single sweet in exchange for all their pocket money,’ he said.

In reply, Minister McConalogue said he has taken a hard line ‘refusing to agree to any mandate for negotiations or for conducting an agreement with Iceland’ and ‘I continue to do so in respect of the fact our waters are discussed in an EU context. I am working to ensure that in terms of the outcome, our waters are respected and any access that happens would be to the benefit of the Irish fleet.’

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